Tips and Tools for Employee Engagement

Employee engagement continues to be a top priority for business and HR professionals in 2017. When we surveyed our HR & TM Executive community back in March about their talent priorities for the year, 60% stated that employee engagement was a top priority for their organization. Now that half the year is over, we wanted to know: what tools are being used to improve employee engagement, and what are the goals of these engagement efforts?

Tools used to address employee engagement

In the last week of June (June 22 – June 29), Argosight conducted a snap survey of our HR community on Employee Engagement. Of the approximately 220 HR professionals who responded to the survey, 92% said employee engagement is a priority for their company this year. The chart below shows how the they are addressing the issue of engagement in their companies.

Engagement tools

Over 50% of respondents said they are using feedback surveys and performance reviews to improve employee engagement. These two tools are the most widely used across industries and regions. It is no surprise seeing surveys and reviews at the top of the list since they are the easiest to implement, have no cost associated to them, and provide measurable data for senior executives. Both feedback surveys and performance reviews inform management on areas they are doing well, in addition to areas that need improvement.

Topping surveys and reviews as the most widely used tool, however, is training and coaching, with about 60% of respondents saying they are utilizing this tool to improve employee engagement. Having training and coaching at the top of the list signifies that HR is taking a step in the right direction, moving from a stage of information to one of action. With the talent landscape being as competitive as it is, companies need to take what they learn from surveys and reviews and create action plans to not only engage their employees, but also address their shortcomings (from the perspective of someone who is working there). This will help increase employee satisfaction as well as make the company more attractive to prospective and future employees.

Other tools on the list such as touch point meetings, social events, and email campaigns are less widely used; only about a quarter of the respondents reported using them. Tools that are being used by respondents, but are not on the chart includes: team huddles, annual employee conferences, in-house speaker forms, peer-to-peer recognition, millennial boards, dedicated engagement teams, and outside consultants.

Goals of employee engagement efforts

Organizations are embarking on employee engagement efforts not only to improve engagement, but also to improve overall aspects of the company. The chart below shows the various goals of these efforts. 

goals of engagement

The most important goal to 70% of this group is improving company culture. Since company culture is core to company brand and employee life, building a strong and supportive culture is key to attracting the necessary talent to support business growth. Company culture is all encompassing, and includes employee communication, collaboration, work/life balance, support for diversity, support for employee welfare, among others.

Aside from company culture, improving employee performance and improving retention are top goals for more than half of the respondents. Both performance and retention have a clear and direct link to the bottom line since they effect revenue; engaging employees so that they are more productive and happy in their roles will have a positive impact on business.  

Although the other goals are not immediate needs of an organization, they are the building blocks for a sound and strategic talent strategy. About 40% of respondents are already working toward developing training programs, building talent pipelines, and identifying top performers for leadership roles. Having talent pipelines and training programs will allow HR to readily fill vacant roles, either from the pipeline or from internal teams.

At the bottom of the list is redefining roles and responsibilities, which is important to 26% of respondents. This goal is less important to the group, probably since it is more organizational than strategic in nature.

Employee Engagement 2.0

Employee engagement has been a top priority in the HR and TM community for years. Organizations have been addressing engagement in the same fashion, as confirmed by results of this engagement survey. However, there are signs that efforts around employee engagement are shifting to accommodate the competitive labor market and the changing trends in human capital. An example can be seen in the rising focus on training and development.

What can companies do to transform their employee engagement efforts and get ahead of the trends? We will discuss this in our upcoming executive brief on employee engagement.